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The biggest chocolate producing company in the world

Economy / -

img 2 L azienda che produce più cioccolato al mondo
© Owen Franken/Corbis

Chocolate is not only a "sin of gluttony", but a multi-million dollar a year business. Here are the rankings of the three confectionery companies that sell the most chocolate and the product that will conquer the market in the coming year.

Bars, cakes, snacks, cookies. Caramel fillings, crunchy with hazelnuts or with a creamy coffee center. The infinite range of best-selling chocolate snacks in supermarkets can satisfy any palate. But it is not just a "sin of gluttony": the confectionery industry is, in fact, a 137 billion-dollar business and it goes without saying that chocolate-based products represent the lion's share.

Every year, the magazine Candy Industry releases a ranking of the most important 100 confectionery companies that produce some kind of preparation containing chocolate, be they fingers or biscuits, snacks or candy, or even the most unusual snacks.
The chocolate podium
1 - In first place, with net sales of 17.64 billion dollars, was the American company Mars Inc. which produces famous snacks such as Mars, M&M’s, Twix, Bounty and Snickers.
2 - Second place went to Mondelēz International Inc. with 14.862 billion dollars in sales and brands including Milka, Toblerone, Côte d’Or, Cadbury and Mikado.
3 - Third place was assigned to the Swiss company Nestlè which sells for 11.760 billion dollars thanks to brands such as Smarties, Cailler, Kit Kat and Nesquik.
The product that will conquer the market
Candy Industry magazine also explores the latest trends in the confectionery industry. Each year, a jury of experts awards the most innovative products that are most likely to succeed in the market. The product winner for 2014 in the category "Chocolate" is the tabasco dark chocolate, that uses the famous spicy sauce made ​​from chili pepper: according to the jurors that tasted it, consumers will love it!
All the chocolate in the world to Expo Milano 2015
Tasting the best chocolate in the world brought directly by producing Countries is a dream come true for Expo Milano 2015 thanks to the Cocoa and Chocolate Cluster: a Pavilion of 875 square meters, dedicated entirely to the thematic route that takes you from the cocoa bean to chocolate, with bench tastings, wine tastings, sensory pathways and cooking shows by chefs from all over the world.
Candy Industry, January 2014, data for net sales value in 2013 related to confectionery companies in the world that produce some form of chocolate.

From Libido to Rashes, the Chemistry of Aphrodisiac Foods

Taste / -

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From Libido to Rashes, the Chemistry of Aphrodisiac Foods
© Anna Hoychuk
From Libido to Rashes, the Chemistry of Aphrodisiac Foods
© Timmary
From Libido to Rashes, the Chemistry of Aphrodisiac Foods
© Christian Jung
From Libido to Rashes, the Chemistry of Aphrodisiac Foods
© Chamille White
From Libido to Rashes, the Chemistry of Aphrodisiac Foods
© optimarc
From Libido to Rashes, the Chemistry of Aphrodisiac Foods
© Lidante
From Libido to Rashes, the Chemistry of Aphrodisiac Foods
© AnjelikaGr
From Libido to Rashes, the Chemistry of Aphrodisiac Foods
© lazyllama
From Libido to Rashes, the Chemistry of Aphrodisiac Foods
© Nata-Lia
From Libido to Rashes, the Chemistry of Aphrodisiac Foods
© Boltenkoff

Softness, scents, colors and sequences of gestures - the secret link between libido and hives, are found in the merits of cocoa, the mischievousness of the banana, the machismo of the truffle. The effect of aphrodisiac foods, proven by science, is discovered to be varied and surprising

Beauty, magic, gestures, rhythms and music make food an aphrodisiac, but there is also a bit of chemistry. In fact, there are substances that have a proven physiological effect, such as zinc (it must be said that zinc is one of the best sexual stimulants), histamine, phenylethylamine and nitrous oxide which, if present in foods, can promote love.
The first substance that is notable for its serious influence on the sexual act is histamine. It is a vasoactive substance – meaning it changes the volume and diameter of the blood vessel walls. Our body produces histamines in response to even the slightest insult by an allergen (redness, hives, mild inflammation). Our bodies produce histamines that enter the bloodstream and also  some foods contain pre-formed histamines, so their intake can have similar effects. To be precise, the effect of histamine foods that interests us here is: the increase in the ability to have orgasms. Foods that are histamine liberators, or that induce the release of endogenous histamine, are chocolate, strawberries, pineapples and exotic fruits, shellfish, egg whites, sauerkraut, alcohol, potato starch, oily seeds and nuts (walnuts, almonds, peanuts, kola nuts), coffee and legumes (lentils and beans). Foods that already contain histamines are in first place, fermented cheeses (the most flavorful: blue cheese, Swiss cheese, camembert, have up to 1,300 mcg / g); followed by fresh fish (oily fish, tuna and salmon), shellfish and seafood, sauerkraut, and, among the vegetables, spinach (37 mcg / g) and tomatoes (22 mcg / g). Most notorious are oysters and mussels: they are bio-indicators of the condition of the waters, because they tend to accumulate pollution.
It is part of the wide range of foods capable of activating different stimulating actions. In addition to histamine, cocoa is full of phenylalanine, an essential amino acid that is linked toning up and  exciting the nerves. It contains phenylethylamine, an aromatic amine that the brain produces naturally when you are in love or sexually aroused: it activates the central brain neurotransmitters linked to pleasure. It also contains theobromine, the stimulant present in largest quantities and an alkaloid similar to caffeine from the chemical point of view due to the effects it causes on the various systems of the human organism, although in a milder form. It  produces a stimulation on the central nervous system, the respiratory system and the muscular-skeletal system, with a slightly more intense effect on smooth muscle tissue, such as cardiac contraction and the bladder. It stimulates the production of serotonin, the hormone of humor and well-being. According to research presented by the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, the fatty acids of chocolate are able to induce the production of endogenous cannabinoid compounds (i.e., similar to cannabis, but produced by the body).
Herbs, spices, chili
Many herbs and spices provide an important stimulus;  including  tarragon, black pepper, cloves and oregano. Saffron contains crocin, a highly effective antioxidant that can also increase the frequency of intercourse. The capsaicin in chili peppers that gives it the characteristic spiciness, is a powerful antioxidant, as well as an invigorating vasodilator.
In Egypt, honey was used during weddings. Today we can confirm that there is a relationship between  honey and the success of married life.  Starting with breakfast cereal and honey: several studies argue that  oats with honey can stimulate the secretion of testosterone and therefore increase male sexual desire. It should be noted that honey is rich in boron and minerals that serve a role in sex and its readily absorbable sugars are necessary for the production of seminal fluid.
The truffle
The truffle is a male aphrodisiac, in particular the white truffle, which contains androstenediol, a precursor of the male hormone: the male body converts it efficiently into testosterone, however it is not converted into estrogen.
A broadcast aired on the BBC in 2009, "The Truth About Food" presented a report based on research that ingesting four cloves of garlic a day, for three consecutive months, would have therapeutic effects on male impotence, especially for  elderly subjects with high cholesterol problems. After broadcast, the sale of garlic in Britain rose by over 30%.  Coldiretti, an organization of Italian agricultural businesses,  said that news extolling the virtues of the many varieties of garlic produced in Italy and exported all over the world, adds that the red onion has the highest content of nitrous oxide, which is the active ingredient in Viagra.
Celery, asparagus, green leafy vegetables 
Some vegetables - to be eaten fresh, if possible rather than packaged-  offer unexpected hidden virtues. It should be noted first that celery, is low in calories, fresh, vital and has specific abilities to help the flow of blood and clean out the arteries. It is also rich in essential trace elements. There is also a wealth of benefits to be praised from asparagus which contains high amounts of  the amino acid asparagine - or aspartic acid - which gives a particular smell to urine as it metabolizes the degradation  of sulfurs such as thiols and thioesters, while it also offers some of its mischievous effectiveness. Deficiency of folic acid can cause lack of orgasm in both women and in men. Remedies? Lettuce at full blast, salads, spinach and all green leafy vegetables.
The mischievousness of the banana is not limited to the shape or firmness of its alluring  pulp, but it is also  based on bufoterina, the alkaloid content found in the peel.
Beware of the vasodilators
Some clarification should be made about the vasodilators. They can make you feel warm without visceral work on the structure, that is, on the affected part. For example, the intake of niacin, a peripheral vasodilator, can make you sweat and drip, but then when it comes down to it is ineffective. Attention also on wine. According to various studies, red wine has an entire list of benefits including sexual, according to a publication of the hospital SM Annunziata in Florence. Women who moderately consume wine have an overall sexual response better than teetotalers. In addition, a glass of red wine is packed with resveratrol, the powerful antioxidant and organic wines have even more of it. But, as we know, a glass of wine can be traitor too, both for the drowsiness which it induces, and  the vasodilator effect that, as mentioned, can be counterproductive.

Plantation syndrome

Culture / -

imm rif tratta atlantica
© Sebastien Desarmaux_Godong_Corbis

The African slave trade is an historical phenomenon that still conditions the present day in many countries. The International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade provides an occasion for reflection on the subject

Millions of people worldwide start their day by pouring a cup of coffee, adding sugar, stirring, and taking that first sip. A set of automatic gestures that rarely leads one to think of the history that informs our actions. The same could be said for tea, or hot chocolate. These commodities have become part of the pleasures of the average day, they help us to socialize, and represent a fundamental aspect of many cultures worldwide.

A cup of coffee
And yet we need only go back in time a couple of centuries to encounter a bitter paradox: sugar, coffee, cocoa, and tea, all of them familiar and comforting products to us, are the outcome of one of the most dramatic tales in human history: the African slave trade towards the Americas and the Caribbean.
The development of these staples was only possible via the reduction to lifelong servitude of millions of people, the vast majority of them African.
The United Nations’ annual International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, on March 25, provides an occasion to look back at this period of history.

Slaves west- and east-bound
The transatlantic slave trade operated for nearly four hundred years, from the 16th to the mid-19th centuries. According to historians such as Olivier Pétré-Grenouilleau, some 12 million Africans were shipped to the plantations of the southern United States, as well as the British, French, and Dutch West Indies and to the Spanish and Portuguese empires while the UN puts the figure at 15 million.
The success of the slave trade was made possible by a chain of ‘slavery professionals’, from African kings who specialized in selling off their prisoners of war, via European slave-traders, to the plantation owners on the other side of the Atlantic.
Over the same period, some 17 million Africans were shipped eastwards, becoming slaves in the Arab countries and within the Ottoman empire, with another 14 million became the property of other Africans.

No end to slavery: how plantation syndrome hampers development
One special feature of the transatlantic slave trade was that it led to the cultivation, on a vast scale, of what can be considered the first global foodstuffs. Over and above this, though, it led to the development of models of production and commerce that have continued to have economic and social repercussions on entire nations, long after the slave trade was officially abolished by Britain in the 19th century.
What could be called ‘plantation syndrome’ has condemned a number of countries in the south of the world to persist with cultivating a single crop, thereby hindering the development of harmonious economic growth. Prime examples can be found in the Caribbean and in Latin America.

Women, slaves three times over
This year’s International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is dedicated to women, to those who have been reduced to slavery, as well as those who have fought for its abolition. Estimates show that one-third of all slaves transported across the Atlantic were female. As such, they were threefold victims of slavery. Not just being forced to work against their will, and being victims of racial prejudice, they also suffered gender discrimination. And yet, it is above all, thanks to these women that African culture was transmitted to the new generations, those who were born free.

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